Joshua Waller looks at the new Ricoh GXR with the f/2.5 28mm equivalent GR Lens - the 28mm lens module for the Ricoh GXR system features a 12.3 megapixel APS-C sensor. Nb. Due to similarities between the system, this review is based on the Ricoh GXR M Mount review.
The idea behind the system is that you buy the GXR body and lens unit, then when you are familiar with the system and controls you can switch to a different lens when needed. Much like an interchangeable lens camera, however the lens and sensor units are said to be optimised for each other, with the P10 with 10.7x optical zoom lens and compact sensor being much more compact than a 10x zoom lens would be on a large sensor Digital SLR or Compact System Camera.
12.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
Ricoh GR 18.3mm f/2.5 Lens - 28mm equivalent in 35mm terms
3fps Continuous shooting speed
ISO200 - ISO3200
3 inch screen, 920k dots
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 Handling
Handling / Controls / Buttons - The body of the GXR system is the same regardless of what lens and sensor unit you attach to the camera and therefore this enables you to become familiar with the camera buttons and controls. The camera features a number of customisable function buttons and an ADJ / Adjust dial that lets you quickly set the most common options such as white balance, ISO, image quality, colour and focus point. The front scroll wheel lets you quickly scroll through the options.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5
The A12 28mm GR Lens comes with a lens cap and a small manual focus ring surrounds the lens. The lens unit fits neatly with the body.
Ricoh GXR Body Rear
Menus - The menus are the same regardless of what sensor / lens unit you use on the camera, however some of the features and options alter slightly depending on the module, for example some have extended ISO settings, or high speed shooting and HDR (in the case of the P10). The menus are very logically laid out and the high resolution screen makes reading them easy as the text is very clear. The menu system is split into three main areas: photo shooting menu, key custom options and the setup menu. The key custom options menu lets you customise what the ADJ menu options are, what the Function, Up, Down and Zoom buttons do. The ADJ button can also be set to quickly change the ISO setting without having to press it down.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5
Battery Life - Battery life alters depending on what module is connected and with the M Mount it is rated at 330 shots. We managed to take 320 photos using mostly the M Mount, with the P10 and A12 28mm unit used as well.
Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced, we also made sure to test all the cameras at the same time to ensure the cameras were being tested under the same conditions.
A12 M Mount
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash)
Continuous Shooting (RAW)
2.5fps (4 shots)
3fps 4 shots
5fps (5 shots)
The camera provides fast shutter response, good continuous shooting at roughly 3fps. Shot to shot time could be quicker and focusing was generally a little slow compared to the other lens units.
Sample photos - The wide angle lens isn't ideal for portraits, being more suited to landscape shots. Macro photos aren't especially suited to the lens either, however it gets reasonably close for a wide angle lens, focusing with subjects 20cm away from the lens.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 Lens test images
Lens test images - The lens performed extremely well in a variety of conditions, producing very little lens flare, lots of detail and a lack of purple fringing in the photo of the trees above, except in the very far corners.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 ISO test images
ISO noise performance - The camera gives a good range of ISO settings from ISO100 to ISO3200. ISO100 and ISO200 results are very good with low noise and good detail and colour. ISO400 shows an increase in noise. ISO800 and ISO1600 show another increase in noise, although results are still very usable. ISO3200 shows more noise again, but the results are usable with a film-like quality to the noise.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 White-balance test images
Auto White Balance performance - AWB produces images with a slight yellow cast under tungsten lighting and using the tungsten preset produces much more accurate colours. Under fluorescent lighting the camera produces good results with just a slight colour cast. Detail is good even in the shadow areas.
Digital Filters / Panoramic mode, Scene modes: The GXR A12 28mm lens unit has very few digital filters / scene modes, with the options being: Movie, Portrait, Sport, Landscape, Nightscape and Skew Correct mode.
Video: 1280x720 / 24fps is available on this camera. The video mode is accessed through the Scene mode on the dial, which makes it not the most easy to access.
Value For Money
The Ricoh GXR plus 28mm lens module costs £250 for the GXR body and the 28mm f/2.5 lens and sensor unit can be found for around £419, making it £669 for a 28mm f/2.5 digital camera with APS-C sensor. A similar specification Digital SLR such as the Pentax K-r with kit lens is around £399 or less and a Micro Four Thirds camera with kit lens is available from around £350, both cameras feature built in image stabilisation.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 Verdict
The Ricoh GXR with 28mm f/2.5 module is a reasonable camera to use with the camera providing quick shutter response and a solid, well designed body. The cost of the camera puts it well above the price of a similar camera system, such as a Digital SLR or Micro Four Thirds camera. You could buy a Micro Four Thirds camera with kit lens for £350, then a Panasonic 20mm f/2.0 lens for £259 and still have change left over for other accessories. Image quality and camera control are both very good, but the camera's slow focusing speed with this lens unit and the high price make it difficult to recommend.
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 Pros
High quality lens
GXR Body is very good
Excellent image quality
Ricoh GXR GR LENS A12 28mm f/2.5 Cons
Lacks image stabilisation
High price compared to other systems
Other GXR modules may not appeal to you